The Apple Internal Support Doc Acknowledging the iPhone X NFC Issue and What it Means for iPhone X Users

1️⃣ iPhone X Suica NFC Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
2️⃣ iPhone X Suica NFC問題交換ガイド (Japanese)
3️⃣ Apple Denial and iPhone X Users
4️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Index

iPhone X Production Tally 2018-10-6
Reader Feedback iPhone X Production Tally (as of 2018-10-6) : A simple tally of good/bad iPhone X devices and manufacture dates reported by readers to track production switchover from problem iPhone X devices to Revision B iPhone X devices. The tally includes JP and international iPhone X models

Now that we know Apple internal support docs acknowledge the iPhone X NFC problem, what does it mean for iPhone X users? Apple does not acknowledge the iPhone X NFC problem publicly, which is bad but there is a silver lining: the Apple internal support doc is a guideline for Apple Support staff on how to deal with the iPhone X NFC problem and conditions for an exchange.

The Knowns
Here is what I know based on reader experiences in Japan and America and 11 months of my own experiences in Japan and America with 2 iPhone X NFC problem units and a Revision-B iPhone X: Apple Support does not publicly acknowledge the iPhone X NFC problem but they will issue an exchange based on 2 conditions:

  • A wipe and restore did not fix your iPhone X Apple Pay NFC problems
  • You encountered problems using your iPhone X for Apple Pay Transit in Japan (nationwide) or China (Beijing and Shanghai)
  • From a reader who got an iPhone X exchange in the US: “tell them (Apple Support) to look up the internal support article on their iPad (in the store) that states issues with iPhone X for Transit in Japan and China. They found it in when I went to the Apple store in the US on their iPad.”

My Take
All iPhone X units manufactured before April 2018 have wonky NFC performance. Period. No exceptions. Maybe your iPhone X does not have a problem in your particular Apple Pay local environment. That’s great, but I guarantee you that all iPhone X units produced before April 2018 have wonky, unreliable NFC performance compared to Rev-B iPhone X units over time.

To me 7 months of faulty iPhone X production (September 2017~March 2018) is a huge design failure. NFC on iPhone X was a dud. There is no way around it. There is no other excuse or explanation. The worst part is that Apple willingly sold iPhone X devices they knew were bad up to the April 2018 Rev-B iPhone X production switchover. The internal support doc is Apple’s attempt to limit a potentially huge number of iPhone X exchanges to something manageable: problem iPhone X devices using Apple Pay Transit in Japan and China.

Taken all together it’s difficult to swallow. It doesn’t matter that your iPhone X Apple Pay is defective everywhere, it only matters if you had problems using your defective NFC iPhone X for Apple Pay Transit in Japan, Beijing or Shanghai. So far this iPhone X NFC debacle is shaping up exactly like the Apple scenario predicted by an NFC engineer source: ‘deny, deny, deny some more, charge for repairs, deny more, sell off all the faulty SKUs, admit it was actually a problem and refund the minority who persist in chasing us.”

Apple is using the internal support doc acknowledging the iPhone X NFC problem for Japan and China to limit iPhone X exchanges to problem use cases in those environments, and users who take the time to deal with the Apple support run around to ask for an exchange.

If you cannot connect your iPhone X Apple Pay NFC problems to Japan or China Apple Pay Transit use, Apple will not give you an exchange Rev-B iPhone X.

Do not expect Apple to issue an exchange program: the internal support doc and iPhone X production tally prove the iPhone X NFC problem is too big and unwieldy to conveniently window down to a “very small percentage”of devices. Do not expect the tech press to help spread news about the iPhone X NFC problem either: their attention is completely focused on the new iPhone love-fest. It’s like trying to light a fire in a wind tunnel of indifference.